Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Regret, Party of One?

My darling sister, after much prodding, has started a blog. (The train of forcing people to express themselves in this matter has chugged its way all the way to Arkansas and Texas, Molly.) On her first post, the meme that has been done by all now, she mentions her ability to admit she has regrets. This has made me think myself, as I am stressed and busy, about what things I'd have done differently. Though only 26, reflection on life circumstances, both good and bad, really make me wonder how different I would be "now" if I would have made changes "then". It should be noted that I 100% believe that everything happens for a reason. (AKA: God is WAY smarter than me, and His plan for my life I'm sure is far better than any plan I could have come up with.) One simple example of that shaped my life forever: if I wouldn't have lost my last job, I would never have married the man of my dreams (we're pretty sure we weren't going to survive that long-distance thing much longer). Despite this belief, I often ruminate about my "regrets". Here, in no particular order, I have thought about a few:

1. I would have been less of a bitch in high school. I'm confident most people didn't like me. I was an over-achiever, and I had some "mental" issues, meaning I was of course smarter and more "put-upon" than my peers. They were beneath me and my extreme intellect and intense emotion. I really thought that way. I am proud of the things I accomplished in high school, but FUN was rarely one of those things. The friendships I have maintained from that time period (love you!) are miracles I can't explain. I want to be able to instill the message of my mistakes in my own students, but they will have to learn them themselves. This is often painful to watch.
2. I would have gone away to college. I stayed in my home town because my boyfriend was still in high school and I just had to be near him. As much as I loved my college (I really did; it's a great school), I never had the experience of going away and being a part of something new and scary like dorm-life, strange faces and places, and a more challenging "growing up" experience. This regret, however, is slight, because some of my closest friends and, subsequently my husband, were brought into my life via college. Plus, I don't have ridiculous school loans. Just a few grand.
3. I would've gotten out of my first "real relationship" before I was so badly hurt. Anyone who reads this knows to whom I am referring. I am proud to say I learned a lot from those mistakes, and am now able to fully love and appreciate my husband, but so many things would be better off now if he would've exited my life sooner.
4. I would have spent more time with my sister before she moved away. We are closer now than ever, and even more recently, I "get" her. We have grown up and are now best friends. If I would have had the knowledge and concern to find out who she really IS sooner, we wouldn't have wasted all those years of living in the same state, town, house. See? If I wasn't such a self-involved, egomaniacal bitch earlier in life, my relationships would have been healthier sooner :-).
5. I would have enjoyed college more. Staying in home town was great, but I worked too hard. I took overloads of credits, summer classes, just so I could graduate early. I now ask myself: WHY? What a waste! That was the time to love life, to party, to make more friends (though the ones I have are great), and to explore new things. Another message I wish I could share, but can a teacher really say, "Grades in undergrad aren't THAT important...go party with your friends all the time"?
6. I always regret little things, too...like not offering to help, or being lazy, or not being the best friend/wife/sister/daughter/teacher I can be. These things come and go on a daily basis, and I just have to remember to keep trying.

In turn, here is a less explanatory list of things I will NEVER regret:
1. My family
2. Callling Heather to tell her I had a crush on Pat
3. Spending money I didn't have to spend two months in England
4. My tattoo
5. Being honest
6. Being bold
7. Being afraid
8. Telling people I love them
9. Drinking a whole bottle of Pinot Grigio because I feel like it
10. Adopting puppies, even when they eat your brand new luggage
11. Getting married
12. Having a blog :-)

"Life must be lived forward, but it can only be understood backwards." -Kierkegaard


Molly said...

Oh, they eat so much, darn puppies!

I could make a list of regrets, but there's always something so good that has come from them. I regret working in Lakeville, in some ways, but I wouldn't have met you, now would I? Or, I could even go so far as to say I regret not going to get my MFA immediately, but I don't think the last three plus years were a complete bust. It's not so bad, this teaching gig. Plus, I can have a job when I'm done with the MFA. That's something.

Medea Zorba said...

Number 10 made me choke on my juice.

LWS said...

What?! She ate your luggage?

I bet there must have been a happy medium between your over-achieving, graduating early, summer schooling, lifestlye and my take the easiest classes (that start the latest), get drunk and party every night, waste several years doing stupid things, lifestyle.
Ya think???

I regret us not spending more time together too. Love you.

Jen said...

I loved this Em! It is so true how such little things can change your life. While I also think that God can make anything beautiful... I wonder where I would be if I had made different choices. I apprecite your honesty!

EWH said...

As three of the women who bought me my new luggage have read this, I feel the need to explain: she only ate the handle off the carry-on, which also has a shoulder strap, so it's still completely useable. It just pissed me off to wake up to this morning...

Anonymous said...

Heather said:

This and your Meme blogs are my favorite since the wedding. I feel persuaded not to talk about regrets because I don't want to slight anyone or good that came out of it. But you have shown, you can memorialize regrets while still letting people know how much you love the alternative route.